Veterans sound off on VA hospital problems

St. Petersburg, Florida -- Bay area veterans are sounding off about problems they've had getting care at the local VA hospital.

A three-hour town hall meeting was held in St. Petersburg on Wednesday, one of many happening across the country.

It's an order from the VA Secretary to improve communication in the program that's recently come under fire.

Some who spoke on Wednesday had compliments for their healthcare system.. Other veterans had a long list of complaints, and leaders took a lot of the hits.

The town hall was a chance for veterans to weigh in on the issues that matter to them -- like long wait times for appointments -- which has been a problem that's surfaced at clinics across the country.

They also report issues from paperwork to parking.

President Obama recently approved an additional $16 million to hire more doctors, allow veterans who live more than 40 miles from a clinic to go to a primary care doctor, and open new clinics like one in Pasco County.

The Bay Pines VA promises improvements are being made:

  • They are adding 100 appointment slots every month in high demand departments like dermatology, optometry and primary care.
  • A group is researching ways the clinic can be made more efficient, like quickly filling "no show" appointments with vets who are waiting.
  • And recently opening a new cardiology clinic for same-day access to services.

Every year, Bay Pines serves some 103,000 vets. The clinic is waiting to hear exactly how it'll be impacted by the President's new funding.


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